Building Partnerships and Networks among Science Granting Councils and other Science System Actors in Sub-Saharan Africa

Project Duration: 2017-2019

Grantor: Department for International Development (DFID), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and National Research Foundation (NRF).

Contacts: Dr. Nicholas Ozor, Executive Director, ATPS

Email: executivedirector@atpsnet.org

Project Director: Dr. Nicholas Ozor

Project Manager: Ernest Acheampong

Project Description/ Background

The Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) in Sub-Saharan Africa seeks to strengthen capacities of Science Granting Councils (SGCs) in Eastern, Southern, Central and West Africa in order to support research and evidence-based policies that will contribute to economic and social development. It is jointly funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF). Text Box: Box 1: SGCI member countries 
Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
The objectives (themes) of the SGCI are to strengthen the ability of participating SGCs to: i) manage research; ii) design and monitor research programmes, and to formulate and implement policies based on the use of robust science, technology and innovation (STI) indicators; iii) support knowledge exchange with the private sector; and iv) establish partnerships with other science system actors. Implementation of these objectives (themes) will be achieved through a number of modalities including customized regional training courses, individualized on-site training sessions, on-line training, webinars, and collaborative research. The SGCI works with Councils in Eastern Africa; West Africa and Southern Africa (see Box 1).

The African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and the Scinnovent Centre, have the mandate to implement the theme/objective IV of the SGCI – to establish partnerships with other science system actors. In this project, the ATPS in collaboration with Scinnovent Centre will organize and facilitate platforms for partnerships and networking through an Annual Regional Meeting (ARM) and Annual learning Forums (AFs) to enable collaboration and coordination among participating Councils, and with other science system actors. The ARM will be co-organized with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and will seek to feed into and support on-going regional STI initiatives being implemented by the regional STI organizations such as the East African Science and Technology Commission (EASTECO) in East African Community (EAC) and similar organizations in the other RECs. Similarly, the AFs will be co-organized with the African Union Commission/ New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUC/NEPAD) and designed to feed into continental level initiatives such as Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA 2024). Through a mix of innovative tools and approaches/ methods, the project will promote active participation, promote knowledge and information sharing and learning, disseminate best practices, and contribute to new knowledge as a global public good.


Key Objectives and Activities

The overall objective of this project is to build partnerships and networks among Science Granting Councils and other science system actors in order to achieve increasingly coordinated and networked Councils in SSA. The specific objectives are to:


i)     Support and consolidate the voices and views of Science Granting Councils  to effectively contribute to key STI policy debates at the regional and continental levels;

ii)  Provide an intra and inter regional platforms for interaction, information sharing, experiential learning, and collaboration among Councils  and other science system actors to contribute to the implementation of the African Union Commission’s STISA 2024;

iii)    Commission state-of-the-art and publication quality research papers/ reviews on key STI themes in order to share innovative lessons and good practices , and disseminate knowledge as a global public good; and

iv)    Promote and disseminate the scientific work, innovations and technologies produced by Councils to key stakeholders such as policymakers, private sector actors, academia, practitioners, and other key stakeholders in the ARM and AFs.

The activities include:

  1. Planning and organizing in consultations with the Councils, SGCI, RECs and AUC/NEPAD 3 Annual Forums (AFs) and 1 Annual Regional Meetings (ARM) for the Councils and other key stakeholders;
  2. Commissioning state-of-the-art and publication quality papers and reviews on selected STI themes in consultation with the SGCI to be shared and discussed at each AF;
  3. Organizing results, reviews and reflection (R3) workshops as part of each ARM and AF in consultation with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) Consultant; and
  4. Liaising with the host country Councils to effectively engage government, academia, private sector and other key stakeholders during the ARM and AFs.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes

The expected outputs include:

  1. One (1) workshop report from the ARM tailored to the theme of the meeting;
  2.  Three (3) Conference proceedings from the Annual Learning Forums;
  3. Three (3) Communiques from the AFs;
  4. Three (3) Commissioned papers on various STI themes;
  5. Three (3) policy briefs (linked to the themes of the AFs and derived from the Commissioned papers);
  6. At least one (1) journal article (distilled from the Commissioned papers and reports).


The expected outcomes include:

  1. The project will lead to better networking, knowledge sharing, collaboration and benchmarking between and among science granting councils in SSA;
  2. Thematic discussions during the annual meetings will lead to common positions, priorities and approaches on STI issues in the region, leading to enhanced cross-country collaboration among Councils and other science system actors;
  3. The project will lead to enhanced profiles of the Councils within the political system and a better understanding of their roles in policymaking and science system strengthening;
  4. The project will support the goals of the African Union’s STI Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024) and contribute to shaping regional STI plans as well as national development goals;
  5. The project will contribute to the global stock of knowledge through its commissioned papers on the status of STI in various themes.


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